Hello there. I’m Valerie.
I’m married to my high school sweetheart and mama to our two precious kids. I thrive on being creative, which makes sense as I market professional services for a living. I also love crafts and anything DIY, and am extremely grateful a Hobby Lobby is now 5 minutes from my house.
Personally, I’m learning to love myself. Life can be hard but we can learn to love ourselves and every imperfection. No one is perfect and we shouldn’t strive to be. I have two autoimmune diseases and I’m using those as a catalyst to propel myself forward in this blessed life.
In December of 2014, eight months after my second child was born, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I became sick when my baby was about 6 weeks old and it just continued to get worse. I had severe gastrointestinal distress – similar to a stomach bug. Over the course of the next six months, I lost 30 pounds and became extremely malnourished. I finally sought out a gastroenterologist and was medically diagnosed via lab biopsies and blood tests.
At the time of my diagnosis, I was given a WebMD print out of what Celiac Disease was, and told to now eat gluten-free. That’s it. I was not given any kind of guidance or instruction on how to make this transition. Nor was I given an in-depth explanation on the risks of cross-contamination. Everything I have learned was through trial and error.
Through research and support from family and friends, I’m feeling amazing and better than I ever have. While I did a complete 180 in regards to my lifestyle, it is the best thing that could have happened to me. Thanks to my diagnosis, I now know far more about my body and have been able to be an advocate for the gluten-free community. I have also struggled with Hasimoto’s Thyroiditis since 2008, but have a much better handle on things.
In late 2018, my then four-year-old son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease as well. He presents differently than I do as he showed signs of Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). Through numerous doctors appointments and pushing from me to do the celiac panel, we finally got a diagnosis. Since he was an infant when I was diagnosed, he’s grown up around Celiac Disease and handled the transition extremely well. He is well-educated and knows how to read labels, and advocate for himself, if I am not around.
As a working mama with two children, a celiac diagnosis was a big change for my family. We eat a lot healthier, much to my children’s dismay, and we eat out a lot less. I pack my food to work every day and often bring my own food to business lunches, pending the occasion. I have learned so much about eating out, with the help of the Find Me Gluten Free app, and knowing what questions to ask to keep me and my son safe.
After attending my first gluten-free conference in September 2016, I decided I wanted to help educate and spread the word about Celiac Disease. I wanted to help others struggling, provide newly diagnosed individuals with some resources, and join a community of others who share the disease. Having a community to share with is crucial when it comes to coping and living with an autoimmune disease. If I can help or inspire anyone, then my mission is fulfilled.
I originally thought a celiac diagnosis would be the end of fun and joy. While it can be isolating, I’ve learned to navigate it in such a way that it is far less overwhelming. This blog is about my journey as a celiac through this beautiful life and that you can absolutely be Wheatless & Happy.